The other night I couldn’t sleep, and so I came downstairs. My son happened to be curled up on the couch rather than in his room. I found myself looking at my son and wondering about what I had to offer him as his father. I wondered about all the things I wanted to promise him. I thought about his hopex and dreams. And I thought about all the ways this world can steal these promises, these hopes and these dreams.
And then I just started to write. And what came out was this series of questions:
The Meaning of a Life
The moment we discover gravity is the moment we realize that we cannot fly. And so we learn how to walk.
The moment we learn to walk is the moment we learn to die. And so we begin the work of learning what it means to live.
But what is life if not the slow process of dying?
And so we choose to believe that death gives life meaning.
But if death gives life meaning, why do we spend so much of our lives trying to find a way to fix death? We work and we give and we fight so that someday we might conquer disease. We could not imagine a public request for money to help fund a cure for cancer while also hearing that this same cancer cannot or should not be cured.
Which begs the question. Would most people not accept a pill that could cure them of all disease, especially if this disease was threatening to take their life? Or would they take it?
We hope for more. We hope for better. We hope that one day life can change. This is human nature. To live life we must face death. To change life it seems we must change death.
But what kind of world, what kind of life do we expect to find on the other side of death and disease?
What motivates us to long for this world?
Which begs another question. Would most people not accept a pill that could cure the life of someone they love, especially if this disease was threatening to take their life? Or would they give them this pill?
And so we find motivation to live through investing in the life of others.
We learn that we are not the meaning of this life, and so we work to make others lives meaningful.
But how do we convince others that their life has meaning if ours does not?
When we work to make other lives meaningful, it gives our life meaning.
But what are we helping others to live for if not the long road towards death?
And if we are helping them to live for more, what kind of life do we expect them to find on the other side of death and disease? What do we believe should motivate others to long for this world?
And so we hope that they too will find motivation to live through investing in the lives of others. Because we also need to be reminded that this life has meaning. That there is something to hope for on the other side of death and disease, that fine line between meaning and meaninglessness.
Hope that maybe, just maybe there is a chance we are able to fly after all.
A Marriage Analogy
First we enter the Honeymoon period where anything is possible. Love is ours for the taking. This new world is an enchanting and wondrous place. Romance is very much alive and well. Everyday is made up of big, extraordinary moments.
We believe we can fly.
And then reality sets in.
Routine. Struggle. Conflict.
Which presents us with an opportunity.
We must learn to walk. We grow through the struggle. We find meaning in the routine. We come to cherish the small moments in the midst of what is sometimes an overwhelming sense of conflict. We realize that one day this romance will be stolen, one day death will take its toll.
And then we learn to live.
But we also learn to live for more.
The reason we walk is to remind ourselves of what it was like to fly. We spend the rest of our lives trying to reclaim the wonder and the romance that the world stole and continues to steal away. In the midst of this reality- the routine, the struggle, the conflict, we find ways to fall in love with our spouse over and over and over again.
Where reality steals, we give.
We give towards the relationship that offers us meaning. Because in giving we are able to let them know that they mean something to us.
We hope for more than til’ death do us part. We hope for new life.